75 Easy Stress Busters

By Woman's Day Staff

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Just Breathe

Whether your tension is small-time or big-league, unwind with our smartest stress-less advice from the past 75 years. Photo credits: Getty Images












Instant Tension Zappers

1 | Take three deep breaths-5 seconds in, 5 seconds out-to slow your heart rate and the pace of your stress hormones. April 2010

2 | Copy a cat: Stretch and then shake it out. February 1963

3 | Sing a favorite song. You'll breathe more fully and the increased oxygen will do your body good. May 2000

4 | Hang your head forward as if it were a heavy ball, then move it slowly to the side, back, side and front. Repeat. Circle around twice in the opposite direction. July 1975

5 | Sit up straight. When your shoulders are back, you open up your chest and breathe more freely. April 2010

6 | Hold the hand of someone you love. Skin-to-skin touch is calming. September 2011

7 | Pop a piece of gum. Chewing loosens your jaw, where you often store stress. November 2003

8 | Take a mental break-focus on a photo of a loved one, a goal or a favorite place. April 2010

9 | At work, walk over to someone's desk to talk, go to the watercooler, force yourself to move. It will relieve physical tension. May 1984
Boost your mood with 7 quick moves.

10 | Smooth on hand lotion. The smell and feel is wonderfully distracting. February 2006

11 | Say a prayer-it's one of the most potent antidotes to stress. Connecting with a higher power helps you gain strength and clear your mind. September 1998

12 | Use your whole body as you yawn. The deep exhalation is relaxing and the stretch loosens your muscles. November 1963

13 | Lie on your back, keeping your knees bent, feet on the floor. This opens the front of your body and quiets your mind. April 2010

14 | Let the sun restore you. Turn your face to it, close your eyes and bask in the natural warmth for several minutes. November 2003

15 | When sitting, tense your body from head to toe. Count to 10 and then go limp. Repeat. July 1975

16 | Try scream therapy: Let out a shout in your car or in a field. You'll feel better afterward! September 2011

17 | Peel an orange. Breathe in the aroma as you tear away the skin. Then pop the sections into your mouth for an instant refresher. November 1979

18 | Breathe slowly through your nose (with your mouth closed). Visualize your breath going to the center of your head, then going out. Do this 5 to 15 times. April 2010

19 | If your heart is pounding, give it a musical rhythm. The idea is not to fight the symptom but to ride it like a wave. March 1990

20 | Place your hands on your shoulders, elbows close to your body. Inhale and bring elbows up as far as possible, stretching your head back. Exhale as you return elbows to start position. Repeat several times. February 1967

21 | Putter with a plant. Pluck off dead leaves, trim new growth, give it water and a few words of encouragement. November 1979

22 | Brush your teeth. The sudsy soothing rhythm can freshen your outlook. November 2003

23 | Try this easy meditation: Think of a favorite phrase. Repeat it deliberately. Let thoughts pass if they interrupt you and return to the repetition. May 2000



10-Minute-or-Less Mood Boosters

24 | Shut your eyes and imagine your stressful situation is a scene in a movie. Stop the action. Pull the picture off the screen. Hold it in your hands as if it's a snapshot. Imagine it shrinking until it's a postage stamp. Put the stamp on an envelope and mail it. March 1990

25 | Call a friend who will listen without judgment. Not only will it help you to vent, but your friend's calmer state will rub off on you. September 1998

26 | Think about the person who is stressing you out. Is she under pressure herself? Empathy helps defuse tension. April 2010

27 | Search online for a short funny video to watch-laughter reduces stress hormones. April 2006

28 | Count your blessings. Focusing on what's going well in your life will give you perspective and make you feel better. November 2003

29 | Eat a bowl of oatmeal. Carbs help you produce serotonin, a feel-good brain chemical. And it's high in fiber, so your body will absorb it slowly, prolonging the boost. April 2010

30 | At work, take the scenic route to the bathroom. The walk will energize you. November 1979
Maximize your workout with 4 easy steps.

31 | Make a step-by-step outline of what you need to do to deal with a stressful situation. It will seem more manageable. April 2010

32 | Plan a vacation. You don't really have to travel-the idea is to move your thoughts somewhere else. April 1971

33 | Fold laundry-productivity combats stress. September 2011

34 | Try thinking worst-case-scenario to see how unrealistic overreacting is. If you're in a traffic jam, take the thought, "I'm going to be late," to a ludicrous point, "I'm going to be fired," to an even more ludicrous point, "I'm going to have to sell pencils on the street!" Feel your anxiety deflate. March 1990

35 | Ask your husband or friend for a 10-minute back rub. April 1971

36 | Close your eyes and say, "I now empty my mind of irritation, frustration, hate and worry." Visualize each one leaving. Then say: "I now fill my mind with peace, calm, love, faith." Visualize each one coming to you. July 1975

37 | Clean out your medicine cabinet, purse or desk drawer. This will boost your sense of control, which alleviates stress. September 1998

38 | Go for a brisk walk. Vigorous exercise burns nervous energy and pumps you full of feel-good endorphins. April 2010




Soothing Suds Tips

39 | Add a pint of milk (or 2 cups of dry milk powder) to a warm bath. You'll feel like you're floating in a warm cloud. December 1987

40 | Keep the bathwater on at a slow trickle to maintain the temperature. November 1959

41 | Hang a Do Not Disturb sign on the bathroom door. May 1963

42 | To relieve aches, rub apple cider vinegar into tense muscles before stepping into the bath. December 1987

43 | In the tub, close your eyes and imagine drifting on a lake or river. April 1956

44 | Don't hurry out of the water. After your soak, turn on the shower and stay there, resting your head on your knees for a few minutes. November 1959

45 | Before your bath, change the sheets on your bed. After bathing, apply body cream and lie in bed luxuriously naked. April 1971
Find the perfect swimsuit for your shape.



Chronic-Stress Help

46 | Get enough sleep. When you're tired, problems can seem larger than life. April 1996

47 | Memorize your favorite poems so you can recite them to yourself during stressful moments. September 1982

48 | Keep a stress diary. After a week, scan it for patterns and brainstorm ways to deal with issues. For example, if you're anxious during your commute, download an audiobook to make the trip more relaxing. April 2010

49 | Ask for help. Remember that you don't have to do everything by yourself. May 1984

50 | Try retail therapy, but limit yourself to buying early Christmas or birthday gifts so you don't pile on financial woes. April 1971

51 | Eat salmon. The omega-3 fatty acids in it may help reverse stress symptoms while boosting serotonin. It can also help suppress the production of the anxiety hormones cortisol and adrenaline. April 2010
Chill out with 8 stress-fighting foods.


52 |
Walk whenever you can. Exercise has a soothing effect, especially when it helps you avoid bad traffic and crowded public transportation. September 1982

53 | Get up before everyone else and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea by yourself. April 1996

54 | A few times a week, change how you do one thing-ask your husband to make the bed or leave the dishes in the sink overnight. September 2011

55 | When you need a time-out, go for a drive in the car and listen to music. July 2003

56 | Give yourself credit. Under stress, we often focus on failure instead of moving forward to complete what needs to be done. December 1989

57 | Know your stress signals (e.g., tummy troubles or neck pain), so you can recognize them right away and take care of yourself. May 1984

58 | Adopt a pet. Affectionate and comforting, they allow you to take the focus off yourself and your problems. September 1998

59 | Make the morning rush less crazed by embracing an easy hair and makeup routine. February 2006

60 | Go out to dinner just to have someone wait on you. April 1971

61 | Before bed, make a to-do list. Writing down what's in your head helps you relax and avoid waking up worried you might forget something. February 2006

62 | Use rituals to decompress, such as drinking a cup of tea in the morning or taking a walk on the way home from work. April 1996

63 | Watch the caffeine. Drinking it late in the day could keep you awake at night, making it hard to get up, leading to downing more caffeine. November 1991




Stop Stress Before It Starts

64 | Whatever you enjoy doing, give it a regular place in your life. Everyone needs an outlet. May 1955

65 | Exercise regularly. It helps take the edge off anxiety. May 1979

66 | Nurture your friendships. Kindred souls will help you stay sane. May 1984

67 | Remember that some things are worth doing imperfectly if it means getting the task done. May 1979

68 | Take sleep seriously. Even a short nap can slash stress hormone levels. April 2010
Fight signs of aging while you sleep.

69 | Just say no. It's not selfish-it's great prevention against stress. December 1989

70 | Connect with nature every day. Look at the sky as you open the blinds and forget yourself for one minute. April 1956

71 | Share the load and delegate around the house. December 1989

72 | Relaxing is not a passive activity, but one to focus on as much as possible. January 1978

73 | Get it off your chest. Bottled-up feelings increase stress. If someone disappoints or upsets you, let them know. September 1982

74 | Put your needs on your to-do list. You'll have more energy if you take care of yourself. April 1996

75 | For 5 minutes each day, forget your plans and worries and live in the present, enjoying what's around you. January 1949


Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.

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